Mesquite Bean Flour

granburyflowergirl(7)June 28, 2011

So, during droughts, Mesquite trees produce tons and tons of beans. Apparently this is natures way of providing for survival of desert dwellers in tough times.

Since my green bean crop is far from producing, I was joking with my mom that she could probably just eat the mesquite beans while she is waiting. This led to a little web research and OMG, mesquite bean flour appears to be a super food! High in protein and essential minerals, no gluten, sweet and tasty, excellent for diabetics, on and on...

So of course I immediately went out and gathered about 20 gallons of mesquite beans. With big ideas about making my own wonder flour and maybe even selling some at the local farmers market, I started to investigate how to mill these rock hard beans...not so simple.

Arizona has a co-op that travels around with a big hammer-mill for people to use, but I cant find anything like that in Texas. I Googled to see how Native Americans were able to use these beans and got a picture of a rock and a slab :-(

Does anyone know of a reasonably accessible/affordable way to process Mesquite Beans into flour here in Texas? A hammer mill costs about $1,800.00 for a cheap one. Anyone interested in going into the mesquite flour grinding business with me? Apparently people pay $7.00-$15.00/lb at health food stores for this stuff...We'd only have to sell about 250lbs to recoup the investment - if the cheap mill holds up that long lol.

Any experiences/advice? Thanks

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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

Americans as a whole are known for sticking to what they know food wise(chain restaurants). I believe it would be difficult to sell and never get past a small time thing.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 3:48PM
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Yeah, I don't imagine it would be an overnight sensation. I am mostly interested in milling it for my own family's use.

I was half kidding on the investment deal...250lbs would be a tremendous amount of mesquite beans not to mention the work. I just can't see dropping $1,800.00 for a mill for just me. Maybe I'll just buy some cheap coffee grinders and plan on destroying them in the process.

It would certainly only be a small niche of health nuts for a while but it seems that awareness is growing and with all of the demand for gluten free products it could have some potential.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 4:29PM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

I'm gluten free but only use rice and potatoe flours :).

I wonder if you could wet process them with boiling? Boil them until they puff up/weaken, dry them back out then grind them? IDK. I know birds harvest seeds that have been through the digestive tract of other animals and chemically stripped by stomach acid! LOL!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 5:18PM
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chena(z8 Texas)

The Mesquite beans are falling like Crazy right now...I have looked for yrs at how to do something other than let the Cows have them so I can have MORE Mesquite..LOL
20 gal ground would be??? I hear they make Great Jelly tho!!!


    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 7:09PM
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I think I read 5 gallons grinds down to about 2 lbs

I gathered everything I could access off of 3 full size trees to get 20 gallons but there are still a ton maybe another 20 gallons on the trees.

I heard about the jelly, but I am not that into jelly so I never looked into it. Apparently the leaves have medicinal uses too.

I am linking to a very informative thread I found

Here is a link that might be useful: Info on mesquite flour dietary benefits

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 7:29PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I used to buy whole wheat by the 50 lb bag from the Mormons and grind it on a used commercial coffee grinder, the kind that stores like HEB have. Back then it sold for $50 and did a great job. I'd start with coarse grind, run it back through and work down to fine. That bread was the most delicious I ever tasted -- then I got allergic to wheat gluten :-(

But the point is check around for a used commercial coffee grinder.

Mesquite bean flour sounds delish! I used to chew the beans for their sweetness when I was a kid.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 9:17PM
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Well, mesquite IS gluten-free! This site says you can use a blender!

Here is a link that might be useful: Mesquite Flour

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 1:44AM
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Hmmm...anyone want to loan me their blender to try it? ;-)

I actually saw that article in my searching but then I read more articles by people saying they had ruined their blender/Cuisinart/coffee grinder etc by trying to grind the mesquite beans.

Also, the seed pods contain 25% protein, so you lose that by discarding them.

I like that the fructose in mesquite flour helps you feel full longer, it could have implications for people trying to lose weight too.

My homemade bird bath is starting to look more and more like a giant mortar and pestle to me lol

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 8:47AM
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"My homemade bird bath is starting to look more and more like a giant mortar and pestle to me lol"

LOL! ! !

Seriously, though,
I don't think I have ever seen a Mesquite bean
That didn't have at least one bug hole in it.
How do you deal with that?
We have an over abundance of the beans this year, too.
But it's so dry, there are no flowers blooming
So pretty as in your picture.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 12:08PM
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Good idea Roselee, I am looking for a good used commercial quality coffee grinder now to try but I don't know how much I want to spend to experiment if there is a good chance of it breaking. The Mesquite beans are much tougher than wheat or coffee.

Rusty, from what I have read, the bugs get in and lay eggs before the bean forms and the holes you see are actually from the bugs leaving the beans - but it isn't a big deal and the bugs are gone by the time the beans are dry enough for grinding.

That pic was taken in May before this killer drought took hold. Today I still have petunia blooms but they are rather pathetic and scraggly looking.

So maybe if I get a hold of an effective grinder/mill and business takes off, you all can just sell me your beans :-) Then I'll have to change my name to GranburyFLOURgirl!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 3:08PM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

I know I know! run em over with the car! LOL. I like your patio area.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 4:36PM
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LOL, you say that in jest, but I have been trying to think of an easy way to crush the things. You may be on to something there...two large sheets of plywood, 2 large metal sheets and the beans in between. Ride over the whole sandwich a couple times and voila! I must try this, it's sheer genius!!!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 6:19PM
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Lynn Marie

But... What does it TASTE like???

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 8:44PM
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I haven't actually tasted the flour yet, but the taste has been described as sweet and nutty, cinnamony, spiced honey, coffee, cocoa and toffee. I broke a bean in half and licked it but I cant describe it other than sweet. I took a box of the beans to my mom to smell, because I really can't even describe the smell beyond "sweet" and she said they smelled heavenly. You are more than welcome to come by and try some after I run them over with my car lol

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 9:38PM
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texasflip(Nacogdoches, TX z8)

Have you looked at home flour mills? I just did a Google Shopping search with those words and found some stuff that looks like what you might want. There are hand-cranked one and electric ones. They even make one for Kitchen-Aid mixers.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 10:05AM
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yeah, but again, mesquite beans are much tougher than most things these mills are made to handle. I read that you really need a hammer mill, anything else is likely to be ruined.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 11:26AM
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chena(z8 Texas)

GBFG!! I have tons of Mesquite your are welcome to allllll you want!! We have section of 65 acres that isn't cleared and plenty of Mesquite trees... I am in Millsap..


    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 2:00PM
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Oooh, I just spotted Milsap on the map and that's not too far...I am all over it (at least I will be once I figure out how to process the stuff, probably by next year lol!)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 4:24PM
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chena(z8 Texas)

Works for me!!! ;0)


    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 5:12PM
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I had a friend just stop by the last week for a visit and on her way out she saw the pods on my trees and said i could make flour. i laughed and said noooo..couldn't be..i have been chopping the trees down for a year and they keep coming back. i have over 75 or more trees. I am interested in making money and yes i have tried it and i like it. My husband is into yoga and they love gluten free etc. i would love to start something here in Texas??? let me know

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 6:24PM
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Great, Thorneni, where in Texas are you? I think this year I am just going to collect as many beans as my three trees produce, let them dry and experiment with them. I need to know that I can actually 1)make the flour and 2)make tasty stuff using the flour before I go much further.

Click on my name and send me an email with your contact email so we can keep in touch and make plans for building our mesquite flour empire! :-)

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 5:43PM
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very very interested in how this turns out- we have literally tons of them

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 5:18PM
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After searching the website this was the only stone grinders I could find that were not into the thousand dollar range but I do not know how well they work or how long they may last;

They were priced t; $259

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 12:04PM
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Gardener972(7b-8a DFW)

I wonder what it tastes like? Can a person make bean soup from it?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 4:46PM
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Wally!!! I actually just bought the junior wonder-mill shown on that site for 219.00. I was assured it could handle mesquite beans and promised there would be a video documentation of this on their site by next week:

I am keeping mine in the box until I see the proof. If it works, it would be great for personal use but not really much beyond that since it is hand operated. Even though you can rig it up to automate it, you can only process so much at a time. It will be perfect for experimenting with though, so I really hope it works. It's just ridiculous how much time I have spent watching them grind stuff on that website!!!!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 8:21PM
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Great minds and all that...I keep looking at all these beans everywhere and want to make flour. There was an article in Texas Coop Power about uses of mesquite beans last year. I've seen the flour for sale on a couple of sites. Anyway, I'd be interested in how you manage this before I collect all these beans. Sure hate to see them go to waste. What about sprouting them first?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 11:22PM
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Ifound a home hammer mill, made in Italy, called a Novital. I bought mine through Premier 1, a farm product store in the midwest. The mill is 1 HP, runs on 110 power, and comes with various screens. I paid a bit over $300. I have to break the beans down in size to get them through the feed, which I do with an electric mulcher. Last year I made 16 pounds of flour in about 2 hours.

Like many of you, I've burned out a blender or two and gummed up a really good stone mill. I sent 10 pounds of beans to one of the best blender/grinder companies in the US and they tried their best products with the beans and informed me that would not warranty their equipment for use with Mesquite. The Novital is the only homr hammer mill I was able to find.

Also, I keep running into contradictory information regarding whether we should or should not use the hard interior seed in our flour. Any definitive answers on this?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 5:16PM
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My mother recieves a cataloge that has a bunch of different wonderful home implements and things. Most are created by Amish craftsmen. They have a mill that is only $200. The nice women I spoke with said that it would grind mesquite beans.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lehmens

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 11:51AM
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Fox 3

Keep us posted on how the Amish mill works. I'm a sceptic in that I don't think the Amish have much experience with the mesquite bean. evan

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 7:25PM
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That's what I was thinking! Ask if they'd be willing to test it on mesquite if they haven't done that!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 9:15AM
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I've gone back and re-read this thread and would like to offer a few qualifications regarding the making of mesquite bean flour. The thread reveals that how the flour is made depends on how much and what quality of flour is desired.

If someone wants a cup or two here and there, a blender will do the job--to a point. A blender will break down the soft part of the beans but leave the stringy outer layer, the leathery outer casing of the bean, and many of the hard interior beans. A blender powders about a 1/4 of the bean and leaves out a lot of fiber and protein.
A blender can be used to re-blend and re-blend until the whole bean has been broken down; but this process will eventually kill the blender.

If someone wants to process a lot of beans, an electric garden mulcher will do about the same thing as a blender on a much larger scale. This morning I ran a few pounds of beans through my mulcher, screened the result, and then ran what didn't screen one more time for a second screening. The result was a tasty flour but still a lot of waste.

I have tried to get it all, i.e., turn the whole pod into flour hence my acquisition of a hammer mill. But as I may have noted in my previous post, the result is a little gritty and I think I need to revise my process and allow more waste. The sharp hull of the interior seed needs to go as well as the leathery husk that surrounds the interior sharp hull.

My quandry, at the moment, is that I believe the interior seed contains the bulk of the protein and I trying to figure out a way to get that protein without the hull.

This morning, spent in experimentation, led me to believe that I can run the mesquite beans through the mulcher, then run them through the mill with the largest screen--this seems to knock the interior seed out of its leathery outer covering. I think that with the right screening I may be able to extract the seed from the bulk of the waste and then run that through the mill with a finer screen and then screen the interiour seed heart from its hull.

I suppose that all sounds somewhat convoluted, it is. It might be that I'm working too hard to extract more than needed from the mesquite bean flour. As noted above, two runs through the mulcher and a good screen gives me a tasty flour--I just hate to throw away what may be the most valuable part of the bean's food value.

Forgive me if I've gone on too long. I'm five years into this process and still haven't gotten it all figured out. Maybe tomarrow?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 4:58PM
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what about one of those vitamix super blenders. But that might be too small for your future.

Cheering you on!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 5:35PM
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I've given up on blenders for a lot of reasons, one of which you mention--volume. I'm am trying to develop enough flour to share with my friends and neighbors.

I just produced 10 pounds of finished flour that came out just right and I've been trading with other garderners in my village for their garden and kitchen products. In the book, Vanishing Village, mesquite trees are discussed at some length as a drought-resistant, valuable food source. The trees have my full attention.

I don't know if you've read it, but Animal, Vegitable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver has helped me move toward a neighborhood guild of food-traders. This morning I got some really good jam for some really good mesquite bean flour. Life is good.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 5:26PM
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I live in San Miguel de Allende and my mesquite tree is loaded with pods...dark purple pods. I stopped by the local neighborhood miller to see if she'd grind my pods into mesquite flour and was shocked she had never heard of doing this! I'm going to take her some but I have a few questions maybe you can answer:
- any tips or tricks on washing them? Is a simple rinse ok?
- I'm thinking of drying them on my flat roof deck. Do I need to put something under them or lay them right on the Saltillo tiles? Will they rot or stain?
- any special instructions I should give the miller?
Thanks for any advice! Bonnie

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 5:16PM
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Hey guys,

I am loving this thread, and am also very excited about troubleshooting mesquite pod/bean processing. I have been harvesting beans at various states of ripeness, but have yet to do much more than make jelly. Perhaps, a neat idea would be a meet up of people in the area to troubleshoot grinding, we could bring various implements and see what works with what kind of bean. I could host such a meetup if desired. Unfortunately, I don't live in the most central location of Texas, but instead in the panhandle outside Amarillo. If people would be amenable we could host something at my house, if not maybe we could meet elsewhere. It could be fun to talk mesquite beans for a whole day!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 5:00PM
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Hey Geograhpy, we are near Lubb and would love to get a group together. Have you had any other responses. I guess we could be the "pioneers" in this area.
My name is Pam. Call me at 806-456-7130 if you want to talk :0)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 7:54PM
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About those bugs...
My husband gathered and cleaned a shopping bag full of dried bean pods during the summer. He put it in our pantry, meaning to take it somewhere for grinding. This week we started to notice little round bugs that looked like a cross between a moth and a beetle. This morning there were dozens of them and I set out to find the cause. They were coming out of the mesquite pods. I have the impression that if you grind your pods in summer you are grinding the insect eggs, too. If you've picked a bunch of pods, I recommend keeping them outside.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 9:18PM
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